Changed from the Inside Out

As I learned to enter God’s rest and walk in His Spirit, I experienced intense withdrawals from my former codependent lifestyle. I acted like a schizophrenic.

 

One moment I would say or do something codependent and the next moment I would step into my new role as a Spirit-led Believer and say or do the opposite. I confused people by this dual personality.

 

Gradually, I decreased in my role as a codependent and Christ increased in me. I learned to say “No” unless God told me to say “Yes.” He taught me to let the job go undone; so others whom God was calling to that role would step up and do it instead of me.

 

I started to see and appreciate the gray hues and tones in life, rather than seeing only black or white. My flexibility increased and my rigid extremes decreased.

 

The demon of perfectionism left my soul and I found joy in the messes of life as I had more time to enjoy other pursuits, which God called me to do. I actually left dishes in the sink and went to bed.

 

God’s Spirit slowly changed my perspective from a carnal, earth-bound outlook to a spiritual, heavenly-minded one. He also healed my wounded soul, traumatized and dysfunctional since childhood and young adulthood ( http://www.theophostic.com ).

 

I released the shame and feelings of defectiveness attached to the wounds of the past and accepted His divine character and the fruit of His Spirit in their place (2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for exposing Satan’s lies, which made me believe that I had to earn love by my behavior. Your Agape love opened me up to expect unconditional love from the significant others in my life. The fear, insecurity, defensiveness and over-sensitivity, which plagued my life decreased as I learned to trust You in spite of the untrustworthy people in my life.

 

You taught me the reality of the fact that You work out everything for our good, even the negative experiences in our life, which threaten to choke the very life from our soul (Roman 8:28). You trained me to look for the seed for a miracle in every trial. You are our worthy, benevolent Father and we are completely loved by You.

 

Thought for the Day:

Self-destructive behaviors – driven by frustration, anger and a wounded soul – diminish as we learn to enter God’s rest and bask in His peace and joy, which are our true source of strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

 

Complete Trust and Rest

Our work in our own self-effort actually hinders the work of the Lord (2 Chronicles 5:14). We spin our wheels by attempting to make things happen on our own. We end up frustrated, anxious and even angry at times.

 

Yet, if we put our needs and the direction of our life into God’s capable hands, and allow His Holy Spirit to guide each moment of our day, we end up in the right place at the right time.

 

If we do not have what we want or what we think we need, we can be sure that God does not think we need it at this moment of time. We often get bored and want a change or feel desperate in some area and decide that we know what is best for us.

 

Yet, when we release all negative emotions and wait on the Lord’s direction, we end up receiving even more and infinitely better than we ever had in our whole life (Ephesians 3:20-21).

 

My sister-in-Christ needed a new house. She combed the papers daily and worked with several rental agencies, desperate to find a new place to live. She falsely believed that it was up to her to relocate her family.

 

After many months and an inordinate amount of stress and time of spinning her wheels, she gave up, prayed for God’s will and timing and entered His rest. She listened to His Spirit each succeeding day. Within a week, she had the perfect home for her family.

 

Another Believer had a similar story with a job. When she decided to abide in God’s rest, she lost her desperate drive. She joyfully turned down a few jobs that God made clear to her were not His will for her. Within a month she had the best job in which she ever worked in her entire life and is so fulfilled and joyful now.

 

A widowed Believer strongly desired a new husband. She tried every avenue she could think of to find a husband. Once she surrendered her need to the Lord, she had peace and enjoyed her life as a single person.

 

Two years later, she met her new husband at the sickbed of a dear friend. The ailing woman highly recommended each of her single friends to one another and they started dating.

 

Within a few weeks, they realized that they were very much in love, enjoying the complete peace of the Lord and were married at the bedside of their dying friend. Years later, they are still head over heels in love with one another.

 

As we cease from our striving and trade our self-efforts for surrender to God’s will, we start to serve God from a position of rest, daily obedience to His Spirit’s guidance and an uncompromising desire to live in the center of God’s will (Philippians 4:7).

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for teaching us to cease from living life in our own wisdom and strength, and from running through life with anxiety and stress, which make us unhappy and unfulfilled in every way. Help us to be grateful to You for every aspect of our life and to be satisfied with Your provision and timing.

 

Enable us to enter into Your complete trust and rest (John 14:27). Help us to be more concerned with Your will than our own, more eager to seek Your Kingdom than our own, and realizing that You will give us everything we need in Your timing and way (Matthew 6:33).

 

Thought for the Day:

Let gratitude for God’s daily provision, as well as the peace of the Lord, fill your heart to overflowing, trusting God to work out all things for your ultimate good. – Colossians 3:15; Romans 8:28

Hope in God – Part 2

We believe in God, not because we are naïve, but because of His many fulfilled Biblical prophecies, as well as God’s provision every day in our own life and for all of His Saints (Romans 8:24-25).

We do not have to hope only in what we already have; but we can eagerly wait in hope in the unseen promises of God. Our hope of living in the presence of God now and in eternity is the sure and firm anchor of our soul (Hebrews 6:19-20).

Believers in our Lord Jesus Christ have peace with God and grace in which we stand as we rejoice in God’s glory (Romans 5:1-3, 12:12). Christ who dwells within every Believer by His Holy Spirit, helps us to hope in God’s glory (Colossians 1:27-28).

Our hope in God assures us of a resurrection of the dead, both of Believers to Heaven and unbelievers, who condemn themselves to hell (John 3:16-18; Acts 24:15).

Believers have this hope, because by faith we turned away from our former sinful lifestyle. We look forward to Christ’s glorious appearance on the day, which God already decided (Titus 2:13-14; Matthew 24:36).

Some people have known God’s presence in their life from a young age. They learned to trust Him with a child-like faith. (Psalm 71:5-6). No matter when we come to faith in Christ, however, we realize that He has known us since conception (Psalm 139:13).

The Lord is our provision for all of our needs; therefore, we can hope in His presence in our life (Lamentations 3:24). Our hope is never disappointed, because of His love in our hearts (Romans 5:5).

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, we pray that You and our Father God, who loves us and gives us an eternal consolation, will establish us according to Your will, in all we say and do. Comfort our hearts with Your hope and abundant grace (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).

You give us a far better hope than anything this world can offer to us, because Christ perfects us and makes us acceptable to You, so that we can draw near to You every moment of every day (Hebrews 7:19). We completely rest our hope in Your mercy and grace that is revealed to us through Christ in us (1 Peter 1:13-14)

Thought for the Day:
May the God of hope completely fill you with all of the joy and peace, which believing in Him gives to us, so that you can abound in even more hope by the power of His Spirit.- Romans 15:13

Words Matter – Part 2

Education and breeding allow us to learn self-discipline and to measure our words carefully, regardless of how we think and feel. We speak cultured words, which do not offend, unless we lose our temper.

However, the Spirit of God is our continual restraint in our thoughts, feelings and actions. He helps us not to blurt out whatever comes to our mind, which is usually crafted by Satan to cause trouble (Proverbs 17:27).

Yet, no human is always able to restrain our tongue, because it is intolerant, immoral and full of lethal venom (James 3:8). Only the work of Jesus, living within the Believer, gives us the power over our tongue.

Once we accept Christ as our Savior, the negative aspects of life control us only if we allow them to do so. When we belong to Jesus, His life-giving Spirit frees us from the power of sin, which leads to death (Romans 8:2).

Salvation also frees us from living in conformity to this world, because we are transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2). Jesus actually renews the spirit of our mind (Ephesians 4:23).

He always gives us a choice, along with wise counsel about which choice to make. If we guard our words and keep our tongue, we avoid calamity (Proverbs 21:23).

The Bible encourages us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19). Wise words win good things for us; and if we guard our lips, we guard our life (Proverbs 13:2).

When our thoughts are excellent and worthy of praise then this affects what we say and do, as well as how we feel emotionally and physically (Philippians 4:8).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that it is better not to be quick to speak or hasty in our heart to think anything negative. When we walk in the Spirit, the fruit of our lips fill us with good things, as surely as the good work of our hands rewards us (Proverbs 12:13-14).

We give You the praise and glory for the transforming power of Your Spirit within us. We can never thank You enough for drawing us to Your heart and including us in Your family for eternity (John 6:44; Ephesians 2:19).

Thought for the Day:
God watches us from heaven as we are on earth, so let us be wise and let our words be few. – Ecclesiastes 5:2

Head Over Heels in Love

We do not need another person in our life in order to feel loved, affirmed and validated. We do not need any one to complete us, because we are complete in Christ in us (Colossians 1:27, 2:10). The more time we spend in silence, peace and rest in His presence, the more we come to know His love, which transcends any human love ever possible.

God fills us through our entire being with all of His fullness (Ephesians 3:19). He proved His love for us by sending His one and only Son into the world, so that we might live eternally through and with Him. This is genuine, authentic love, which we did not earn or deserve. There is nothing we can think, say or do that would discourage His love for us.

Most Believers understand that God’s hand upholds the earth in perfect balance, and keeps us all living and existing on planet earth. However, we often take for granted those issues of life, which require no thought. Things like air to breath and eyes to see. However, each of these miracles is evidence to us that God loves us.

God gives us the gift of life each and every new day. The fact that we wake up is proof that He loves us. Sadly, so many people do not truly believe that God actually chose us and adopted us as His beloved children. All through the day, He sends people, events and natural wonders to remind us of His love for us.

God also reveals His love to us in nature, and by the numbers on a clock, through an escape from a catastrophe, a hug from a friend, a letter from a distant relative, a smile from a stranger, and through so many unexpected ways throughout the day. If we are not too busy to notice His little love notes, this makes us feel so precious, cared about and surrounded by God’s love.

Prayer:
Father God, Your unrivaled peace and joy flood our soul as we sit at Your feet. They flow through us and out of us to everyone You bring into our life. You restore to us the joy of our salvation when we fail You, and You hold us up by Your generous Spirit (Psalm 51:10-12). We can never thank You enough for the myriad of ways, which You prove Your love to each one of us individually. You always keeps us in the palm of Your hand (Isaiah 49:16). As long as we have Your love, it is enough to sustain us throughout eternity.

Thought for the Day:
In actuality, God is head over heals in love with us. – 1 John 4: 8-11

A Life of Change

A relationship with Christ changes our whole life. Our nature, desires, friends, spirituality and lifestyle will all change. Sometimes, it even changes our address, family dynamics, church attendance, values, goals and dreams. The biggest change comes in the form of who we are. We are brethren, related to other Believers; and children of the Light, adopted into God’s family.

Satan attempts to convince us that we are still sinners. We even call our self “sinners, saved by grace.” This cripples our walk with God and keeps us tied to the earthly realm. Our focus is negative, which does not allow us to live in victory over sin. We subconsciously think that we have no recourse but to sin. Satan cripples our walk with this lie (John 10:10).

The devil wants us to believe that we have not changed, that God is not real and that the Christian walk is ridiculous or impossible. However, God is the author of sweeping transformation. He changes us at our very core, and His power has a positive effect on our daily walk, as well as our eternal destination. We can certainly resist sin, because it no longer appeals to us.

God turns us into Saints who walk away from sin and toward Christ. We leave a world that is dark in disobedience and deprivation and walk toward the light of the Lord (Ephesians 5:8). Our spirit, once dead in sin, is now Born Again (Colossians 2:13). We no longer struggle with our identity, because we see our self as a child of God (1 John 3:2). We have value in our relationship with Him.

Prayer:
Father God, when Christ moves into our life, He radically changes our motivation and behavior. Your Spirit gives us the desire and the power to walk in holiness (Philippians 2:12-13). Our character takes on Your divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). The fruit of Your Spirit replaces the negative characteristics of our personality (Galatians 5:22-23). We live and move and have our being in Christ (Acts 17:28).

Thought for the Day:
We build on salvation with sanctified living and we reach for the prize of the high calling of Christ. – Philippians 3:14

Spiritual Healing – Part 3

Focusing on God

We often react to people and situations without thinking. We usually over-react because we do not have all of the facts. Then, because of our insecurities, we exaggerate the incident in our mind and end up falsely accusing others. At other times, the action from the other person pushes buttons from our past and we are instantly incensed ( http://www.theophostic.com ).

Sometimes, we allow another’s behavior to continue until we cannot stand it anymore, and then we finally react in anger. Change will often affect us negatively; or if we get tired, we will get grouchy and easily angered. The cure for this is to focus on the will of God in the situation. This brings instant peace to the circumstances.

As we stay focused on God, we live in His perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). We also give God charge over our attitudes, behavior, desires and thoughts. Any time our attitude turns negative, we can be sure that we are either neglecting some legitimate need that we have, or we are harboring an inordinate need that is an idol in our life and that we need to surrender to God.

If we fail to consult the Lord about the issue, then we often end up inappropriately dealing with it our self. As a Believer, we can realize that nothing will occur in our life, which is not already part of God’s plan for us. He works out even the most horrific issues for our good (Romans 8:28). This reminds us to look for the seed of a miracle in every trial. God is good all the time.

Prayer:
Father God, Your Word advises that sweet and bitter water cannot come out of the same well (James 3:11). Fill our mind with Your thoughts. Keep our thoughts focused on only that which is pure, true, noble, righteous, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). Cleanse us from any wicked way in us and lead us in Your everlasting ways (Psalm 139:23-24).

Thought for the Day:
Love does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking or easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. – 1 Corinthians 13:5

God’s Got It All Under Control

Regardless of our social, economic or religious standing, we often feel disappointment throughout our lifetime. It is clear that disappointment is no respecter of persons. We all foster expectations and we hope to achieve certain goals, which never come to pass. We sink into the pits of discouragement and flounder in the sea of despair. These negative emotions are murder on our body and soul (Proverbs 13:12).

The alternative is to surrender our expectations to God and to gratefully accept the conditions He allows to come our way. Then, we will live in serenity. God has a perfect plan for each life and only in the center of His will do we find perfect peace and contentment (Isaiah 43:1-2). Faith in God’s faithfulness will provide us with inner joy and tranquility regardless of our circumstances (Romans 5:3-4).

When we compare our issues with the life of those who are persecuted for their faith, we gain a better perspective. When we prioritize our life with our standard as eternity, our temporal issues are trivial at best (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Christians throughout the ages all faced discouragement (2 Corinthians 1:8-9); but authentic Believers have no need to surrender to discouragement. God give us glorious, indescribable joy (1 Peter 1:8).

A personal, intimate union with Christ provides us with the protection, guidance, comfort and strength of the Lord (1 Peter 5:10; John 3:16). As we submit to God’s will, we realize that He is always in control (Ezekiel 38:4; Proverbs 21:1). Nothing, which occurs in our life, surprises Him, because He already planned an equitable solution for us (Romans 8:28). With God on our side, nothing will ever attack us without His knowledge (Romans 8:31-32).

He is actually greater than the spiritual forces of darkness, which come against us (1 John 4:4). With Christ dwelling within us, our heart is no longer anxious or frightened (John 14:27). We can count it all joy when we face various trials and tribulation (James 1:2), because we see His hand working out everything to our advantage (Romans 8:28). The seeds of the ultimate miracle within our suffering and disappointment end up increasing our faith (Colossians 3:15).

Prayer:
Father God, our deepest sense of joy comes from a life surrendered to You (Hebrews 13:5). An optimistic unbeliever can radiate a positive attitude in negative circumstances, but they are still missing the joy and peace, which only You can provide (Philippians 4:7; Ephesians 3:19). We are a witness to a lost and dying world of Your protection and provision (John 16:33; Romans 8:28, 37). We gain strength in our weakest times from the presence of Your Holy Spirit within us (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). At the center of Your will, we find deep and lasting peace (Isaiah 26:3).

Thought for the Day:
Anyone, who is born of God and believes in His Son, has His faith dwelling within us, helping us to overcome the negative issues in the world. – 1 John 5:4-5

Who Needs God Anyway?

The reason secular religions are so popular today is that they do not require us to give up control of our life. They give us permission to attempt to perfect our own self through a series of mantras, religious activities and self-denial. In contrast, authentic Christianity requires total surrender of our entire body, soul and spirit to the ministrations of God’s Holy Spirit.

Surrender is much harder for the human mind to accept than the concept of working for one’s own salvation. Most people are too busy for God anyway, except when life gets too hard to handle. When we get in distress or some type of trouble, we quickly turn and run into God’s everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:26-28). We soak up all of His love and comfort until we feel strong enough to face life.

We use Him like an Aladdin’s Lamp to grant our three wishes. Then, we leave God in our prayer closet and come out with the false confidence that we can do all things on our own again. We quickly get side tracked by life and its demands and forget all about God until we need Him again. We even forget to thank Him for His blessings in our life (Luke 17:17).

God desires fellowship with His creation. All of nature knows this and even the trees of the fields clap their hands in praise to our Creator God (Isaiah 55:12; 1 Chronicles 16:30-34). Most people, even some Christians, are not conscious of God’s continual presence in the life of a Believer. Only authentic Believers relinquish our will to God and submit to His plan and purpose for our life (Ephesians 2:10).

Prayer:
Father God, even though You never give us more temptation than we can handle without giving us a way to escape (1 Corinthians 10:13), You often give us more trials than we can handle in order to prove to us that we need You in our life. These trials are never more than You can handle, however. Teach us to walk in Your Spirit every moment of the day and to perform only those works, which You created us to do (Ephesians 2:10).

Thought for the Day:
Self-effort is the enemy of an intimate relationship with God.

A Place of Rest for Our Soul

In the Old Testament, Believers worshipped in temples of stone and mortar. Their contact with God was from the first five books of our Bible. It is different today. We have 66 books of God’s Word to encourage and instruct us. God dwells within us in a personal, intimate relationship, not in temples made with human hands (Romans 10:9).

We are God’s “living stones”, and Jesus is the chief cornerstone on which we are centered (1 Peter 2:4-6). As God’s Temple, we have a deepening understanding of the reality of what it means for Christ to abide in us (Colossians 1:27). This truth changes our outlook on life and affects our body, soul and spirit. We enter God’s rest forever (Hebrews 4:9-10).

God rested after He created the universe. Jesus rested after carrying the burden of our sin to the cross. Now, we can rest from serving God from compulsion and serve Him from a place of love instead. The doorway to this rest is through total surrender to God’s will and to Christ in us, which is our hope of living in glory now and in eternity.

Our humanity is dead and we are a new creation with Christ living in and through us (Galatians 2:20). We decrease daily, so that He can increase (John 3:30). We cease from our human striving and follow God’s Spirit through every moment of every day (Galatians 5:16-25). However, our ultimate rest will be when we leave this sin-cursed world behind and live instead in the presence of God in glory (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Until then, we dwell in Christ as Christ abides in us. We die to sin with Christ and He raises us to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). Living by the faith of the Son of God, we enjoy His love and redemption (Ephesians 5:2). He directs our paths, as we seek Him in everything we think, say and do (Proverbs 3:5-6). The peace of God rules in our hearts, dispelling all of our doubt and fears (Colossians 3:15; Philippians 4:7).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us not to strive in life, but to submit our will to Yours each and every day. Help us to accomplish the works, which You prepared for us to do before we were ever born (Ephesians 2:10). Bring people our way to whom we can share Your love and give us the boldness to proclaim Your truth to them.

Thought for the Day:
Yoke up with Jesus and find rest for your soul. – Matthew 11:29